UN to vote on resolution rejecting US Jerusalem decision | News | DW | 16.12.2017

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UN to vote on resolution rejecting US Jerusalem decision

The UN Security Council is set to vote on a draft resolution nullifying any changes to Jerusalem's status, after the US policy change on the holy city. Protest against the US decision broke out in Jakarta on Sunday.

The United Nations Security Council will on Monday vote on a draft resolution earlier next week that would consider any changes to the status of Jerusalem legally invalid and call on any such changes to be reversed,.

While not naming the US specifically, the Egyptian-drafted text, seen by AFP and Reuters news agencies, is a significant repudiation from the international community of US President Donald Trump's decision earlier this month to recognize the holy city as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Read more: Jerusalem — Three things to know

The draft resolution states that "any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council."

The draft also demands that states refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem in accordance with prior Security Council resolutions that declare any changes in the status of Jerusalem as a city divided between Israelis and Palestinians to be violations international law.

Read more: Arab League leaders condemn Trump's recognition of Jerusalem

Security Council vote — and veto?

The one-page draft was circulated to the 15 members of the Security Council on Saturday. They are expected to vote on the resolution this coming week, perhaps as early as Monday. 

The measure would need nine backing votes from the Council's 14 members in order to pass, including no vetoes from the permanent members: US, France, Britain, Russia and China.

Diplomats expect that most members of the council will vote in favor of the draft resolution. However, a veto vote is likely from the US Ambassador to the UN, Niki Haley. She has called Trump's decision "the just and right thing to do."

If the Security Council rejects the draft resolution, the measure could be taken to the General Assembly for a vote.

Palestinians have been calling for a toughly worded resolution that directly calls out the US and demands that the country rescind its decision.

However, some diplomats said that various US allies in the UN have called for a more toned-down approach, urging resolutions that instead reaffirm the international body's position on Jerusalem.

Protests in Jakarta

Palestinians and their supporters worldwide have taken to the streets in protest since Trump's announcement. In Jakarta on Sunday, more than 80,000 Indonesians took to the streets to protest against the decision.

Demonstration in Indonesia

Tens of thousands took to the streets in Jakarta in support of Palestine

"We urge all countries to reject the unilateral and illegal decision of President Donald Trump to make Jerusalem Israel's capital," the secretary general of the Indonesian Ulema Council, Anwar Abbas, told the crowd. Indonesia is home to the world's largest Muslim population.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also tried to take a leading role among Muslims to rally opposition to the new US position. On Sunday, he expressed hope that Turkey would soon open an embassy in east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. 

"Because it is under occupation we can't just go there and open an embassy," Erdogan said in a speech to his ruling party.

"But, inshallah (God willing) those days are near and ... we will officially open our embassy there," he said, without giving any precise timescale.

Holy to three religions

Jerusalem, a city holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians, has been divided between Israelis and Palestinians since 1948, with Israel taking control of east Jerusalem in 1967. The UN does not recognize this annexation or the city as the undivided capital of Israel.

The UN also insists that any changes in Jerusalem's status be achieved through negotiations.

Israel has declared all of Jerusalem as its capital. Palestinians claim the city's eastern section as the capital of their future state.

bik,cmb/ng (Reuters, AFP)

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